By Greg Evers
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to participate in a Spanish immersion program in one of my religious community’s missions in Guatemala. I remember the rush of emotions I felt when I took my first steps off the plane at La Aurora International Airport. Fear, confusion, anxiety. I was immediately overwhelmed with the flood of people and sounds of a world that was not my own. At the time I knew only a couple of words and phrases in Spanish so navigating the airport and customs with the language barrier was a challenge. I remember at one point thinking to myself, “Is this what it feels like when immigrants come to the United States?” I was lucky in my situation because I knew that someone would be waiting for me outside the airport to pick me up. This is not always the case however when someone comes the United States. Many immigrants have to face these challenges on their own.
A few weeks ago I accompanied a woman downtown so she could file her paperwork for child support. We got off the train and started walking down the street. I checked the GPS on my phone and I realized we had been walking for about a block in the wrong direction. Once we finally found the correct building, we asked the clerk where we needed to go. The next clerk we talked to helped to get the application in order, then we had to go to another floor for more processing. Finally after this third stop the application was submitted and the client was told she would receive more information in a few weeks. I remember her telling me how grateful she was that she did not have to go through this by herself.
Part of my role as a compañero at Taller de José is to be that walking presence with the client seeking help. To let them know that someone has their back in whatever situation they are in. I am thankful that I had someone looking out for me when I was in a world that was not my own. I am grateful as a compañero that I can be that person who looks out for someone else in a world that is not their own.